Italy's Giornale dello spettacolo, the weekly magazine of the theatre and film industry, has recently published the grosses for the 1997-98 season. Considering that among the top show only Grease is still playing at Rome's Teatro Sistina (and will no doubt consolidate its already unbeatable top position), the chart should be considered accurate and definitive.
Among the top 10 shows there are four musicals, a genre that has recently become very popular among Italian audiences: apart from the record-breaking chart-topping production of Grease, the other best-selling musicals are a revival of one of the great Italian musical comedies of the Fifties, Garinei and Giovannini's Un Paio d'Ali, a revival of Roberto De Simone's "opera buffa" La Gatta Cenerentola, a great hit in the mid-1970s, and a new Italian musical, Frankesteinmusical, which however received very poor reviews in the national press.
The top play has been the new production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off, a show that draws its success from the popularity of its two stars, the comic duo Zuzzurro and Gaspare, and from a residence of more than three months at Milan's Teatro Nazionale. The other plays in the chart include a new mounting of Feydeau's La dame de chez Maxim directed by Alfredo Arias, Manola, a new play starring the popular actresses Nancy Brilli and Margaret Mazzantini and Eduardo De Filippo's Non ti pago, starring the Neapolitan actor Carlo Giuffre.
The city of Milan has confirmed its position as the capital of the Italian theatre, with an attendance of more than 1.1 million for its 250 shows.
Top 10 shows by attendance (Sep 8 1997-May 24 1998) Show Perf. Tot. (Attendance) Gross in Ital. Lire
1. Grease (musical) 104 (118,715) 6.099.208.000
2. Un paio d'ali (musical comedy) 89 (106,134) 4.355.268.000
3. Noises Off (play) 139 (100,537) 3.077.958.000
4. La dame de chez maxim (play) 115 (94,596) 2.433.122.000
5. La gatta Cenerentola (musical) 71 (85,158) 2.959.421.000
6. Manola (play) 107 (81,385) 2.318.671.000
7. Gaber 97/98 (one man show) 72 (80,913) 2.569.259.000
8. Frankesteinmusical (musical) 103 (75,033) 2.190.864.000
9. Giu al nord (one man show) 58 (70,549) 2.326.751.000
10. Non ti pago (play) 98 (69,400) 1.675.148.000
1 US dollar = 1750 Itl. Lire
Top ten cities by attendance
City Tot. Attend.
1. Milan 1.129.306
2. Rome 835.912
3. Naples 341.593
4. Genoa 283.990
5. Turin 273.849
6. Bologna 253.465
7. Trieste 207.836
8. Catania 135.568
9. Bergamo 96.208
10. Modena 69.360
-- By Stefano Curti